Sunday, October 14, 2012

Present Tense of Stem-Changing Verbs

One of my readers recently asked me for tips on teaching stem-changing verbs in the present tense.

Here are some of my suggestions:


First I call them boot verbs or shoe verbs because when you draw a line around all the forms that change it ends up looking like a shoe/ boot.  I draw this in front of them exaggerate the fact that it looks like a shoe by drawing shoe strings or something.

I remind students what the stem of the verb is and that with regular verbs the stem does not change but with stem changing verbs the stem changes.  I review one of the regular verbs and then show a stem-changing verb.

I say "in the present tense of stem-changing verbs the stem changes in all forms except for the nosotros form."  Then I ask my students "in what form does the stem change in stem-changing verbs in the present tense?"  They should say "all except nosotros."

For example with cerrar I tell them that the e changes to ie in all froms except the nosotros.  So no longer is the stem cerr.  It is now cierr.

cierro              cerramos
cierras
cierra              cierran   

I then have the entire class conjugate the verb out loud together making sure to emphasize the fact that the nosotros from does not change.

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